Sarum Time Line

A detailed history appears in Edwards, Kathleen. ‘The Cathedral Church of Salisbury’, A History of the County of Wiltshire III:153-210. London: Victoria County History, 1956.


ca. 705: Diocese of Sherbourne founded by St. Aldhelm, Abbot of Malmesbury; Sherbourne Abbey served by Benedictine monks from about 993.

1045: Hereman elected Bishop of Ramsbury

1058: Hereman additionally elected Bishop of Sherboune

1070: Motte-and-bailey castle built at Old Sarum.

Old Sarum Cathedral

1075: Council of London names Hereman of Wilton Bishop of Sarisberie, uniting the former sees of Sherbourne and Ramsbury into a single diocese. The first cathedral was begun shortly thereafter.

1078: Osmund succeeds Hereman as Bishop of Sarum.

1086, August 1: Domesday Book presented to William I at Old Sarum Castle.

ca. 1089: Cathedral Chapter of 36 canons established.

1092, Tuesday, April 5: First cathedral consecrated. (struck by lightning and partially destroyed 5 days later)

1099, Dec. 3: Death of Osmund.

Early 12th century

Four principal dignitaries, Dean, Precentor, Chancellor, and Treasurer, established.

ca 1120: Enlargement of the first cathedral completed.

1122: Bishop Roger gives up the title of Abbot of Sherbourne; Prior Thurstan becomes the First Abbot of Sherbourne (as well as a Canon of Salisbury).

ca. 1130s: Bishop Roger extends the transepts and eastern the eastern arm of the first cathedral.

ca. 1150: Bishop Jocelin de Bohon obtains permission from Archbishop Theobald to move the Feast of Relics to September 15.

ca. 1150-70: Bishop Jocelin builds a new residence and cloister to the north of the cathedral, expands the number of canons to at least 42.

ca. 1163?: Feast of the Holy Trinity adopted.

1184, November 18: Death of Bishop Jocelin.

1194, June 12: Bishop Herbert Poore enthroned at Old Sarum.

ca. 1197-99: Plans begin to be made for the new cathedral and town.

Early 13th century: Dean Richard Poore develops plans for the new cathedral and liturgical practices and customs and ‘Ordinale’ of Sarum.

‘Let us descend joyfully to the plains, where the valley abounds in corn, where the fields are beautiful, and where there is freedom from oppression.’  Canon Peter of Blois

1208, March 23: England placed under interdict by Pope Innocent III.

1214: Interdict lifted. Constitutions of 1214 and 1222 indicate that every  canon, resident or non-resident was bound to have a vicar to perform the cathedral services

1215: Fourth Lateran Council

1217: January 7: Bishop Herbert Poore dies.

1217, June: Richard Poore elected Bishop.

1218, March 29: Pope Honorius III formally approves the removal of the cathedral to New Sarum (Salisbury).

The New Cathedral at Salisbury

1219: April 8: Temporary wooden chapel constructed at the new site, consecrated on Trinity Sunday, June 2, 1219.  This may have been on the site of the present Church of St. Thomas.  The churchyard was dedicated on the same day.

1219, November 1: Official transmigration of the cathedral body to the new site.

1220, Tuesday, April 28: Foundation stones of new cathedral laid.

c. 1220: Sarum Use adopted at St.Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin (Sally Harper, Music in Welsh Culture Before 1650: 199).

c. 1220: Cathedral School established

1224: elements of Sarum Use adopted at St. David’s Cathedral, Wales (Sally Harper, Music in Welsh Culture Before 1650: 199).

1225, Sunday September 28: The three eastern altars dedicated.

1225: Bishop Richard Poore institutes daily sung mass of the Blessed Virgin with 13 vicars choral.

1225, Monday, September 29: Cardinal Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury preaches and celebrates mass at the new altar.

1225, Thursday, October 2: Visit by King Henry III.

1226, Sunday June 14: Coffins of Osmund, Roger, and Jocelin translated from Old Sarum to the new cathedral on Trinity Sunday.

1228, May: Bishop Richard Poore appointed to Durham Cathedral.

ca. 1236: Choir stalls and pulpitum erected.

by 1242: Sarum Use reaches Moray,  Scotland. (Sally Harper, Music in Welsh Culture Before 1650: 200).

1244-45: Commencement of services in the new choir and presbytery.

13th c. — Spread of Sarum Use to other dioceses, including Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

13th c. Principal historical Sarum manuscripts.

1246: Salisbury adopts the feast of the Deposition of St. Edmund, Archbishop, displacing Ss. Primus and Felician. (Edmund had been Treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral, 1222-34).

1247: Salisbury adopts the feast of the Translation of S. Edmund, Archbishop.

1240s: Completion of the treasury and muniment room.

1250s: Completion of the west front.

1258, Sunday September 29: Salisbury Cathedral consecrated by Archbishop Boniface , in the presence of Henry III, Queen Eleanor, Princes Edward and Edmund, and many other dignitaries.  Feast of the Dedication observed September 30 each year, until 1536.

1260-62?: Feast of St. Richard of Chichester adopted.

1262: House of the Valley Scholars of Blessed St. Nicholas founded by Bishop giles de Bridport

1263: Chapter House completed.

1264: Salisbury adopts the Feast of Corpus Christi–although its introduction into the Sarum liturgy may have been as late as 1317.

c. 1265: Cloister completed.

1269: Collegiate Church of St. Edmund (St. Edmund’s College and parish of St. Edmund’s) founded by Bishop Walter de la Wyle

1314:  Bishop Ghent provided financial support for the 14 choristers, and a master to teach grammar.

1319: Feast of Relics moved from September 15 to May, following the Translation of St. Thomas of Canterbury.

1320-30: Spire completed.

1322: Bishop Montival provided a house for the choristers in the close

by 1325: Saum Use very widespread throughout the province of Canterbury, Hereford excepted.

1327-31: Close wall built with stone from the ruins of Old Sarum.

[1337: Grandisson, Ordinale (Exeter).)

ca. 1340: Ordinal Wellwyk (not extant) compiled by Thomas de Welewick (Precentor, 1341-43) ; see Frere,, The Use of Sarum II:xx.

by 1350: Sarum Use almost completely introduced throughout the province of Canterbury, Hereford excepted.

1350-1400: the’New Ordinal’ introduced.

1365-75: John Wycliffe’s tracts attacking the Sarum Ordinal.

1378: Feast of St. Anne introduced into England.  Mandated for the Province of Canterbury by Archbishop William Courtenay on May 18, 1383, in honour of the marriage of Richard II and Anne of Bohemia in 1381.

ca. 1390: Exeter adopts the Sarum Ordinal under Bishop Thomas Brantingham (Pfaff 2009:411).

1395: Bishop John Waltham endows the choristers to sing an antiphon to the Blessed Virgin daily after compline (and presumably after the devotion ‘pro pace ecclesie’) in his memory (see 1540 below).

1398: Sts. David, Chad and Wenefrede added to the Sarum Kalendar and throughout the southern province as simple feasts of nine lessons by Roger Walden, Archbishop of Canterbury (Wilkins, Concilia III:235).

1398: The weekly commemoration of St. Thomas the martyr established in the Province of Canterbury by Roger Walden, Archbishop of Canterbury.

1409: Vicars choral incorporated by Henry IV; a common hall established for the vicars in the north walk of the close; votive mass of the Name of Jesus indulgenced by Bishop Robert Hallam.

1414-15: Diocese of London adopts Sarum Use.

1415: Sts. David, Chad, and Winifred added to the Sanctorale by Archbishop Chichele as ‘cum regimine chori’.

1443: John Caryter endows the singing of ‘Nunc Christe te petimus’ each evening by the choristers before the Rood. (Bowers 1975:5084)

before 1450: Clement Maydeston, Directorium sacerdotum.

ca. 1450-55: John Raynton, Crede michi, original version.

1452: New campaign for the canonization of Blessed Osmund begun.

1456: Feast of the Transfiguration adopted. (1457?, 1480?)

1456-57: St Osmund canonized (Jan. 1 1457) by Pope Callistus III; Feast of St. Osmund, and Feast of Translation added.

1457, Thursday, July 16: Translation of St. Osmund to a new shrine.  Some believe that the shrine was located in the centre of the Trinity Chapel.  I believe that it was located in the easternmost bay of the presbytery, behind the high altar.

1457: Feast of the Name of Jesus added. (1480?)

1469: Ordered at Salisbury Cathedral that thenceforth the singing at daily Lady Mass be undertaken only by certain of the vicars recognized as those in cantu peritiores (skilled in singing).  (Bowers 1975:6096.)  This reflects the growing importance of polyphony in the Lady Mass.

ca. 1475: First Sarum Breviary printed.

1477: Caxton’s Ordinal fragments.

later 15th c.: Polyphonic lady masses introduced in Salisbury Cathedral by Bishop Richard Beauchamp

1479-80: Lierne vault of the central crossing installed.

1480: Feast of the Visitation added (1431, Sally Harper, Music in Welsh Culture).

1486: First Sarum Missal printed (Basel: Michael Wennsler).

1487: Crede michi first printed

ca. 1490: Lay-vicars begin to be used at Salisbury Cathedral

1508: First Sarum Gradual printed.

1518: First Sarum Hymnal printed.

1519-20: Sarum Antiphonale printed.

1523: All dedication feasts in the City of London transferred to October 3.

1526: Bishop Audley Chapel, with stone base and arch for the Easter Sepulchre, built to the north of the high altar.

1534: Act of Supremacy.

1536-: Dissolution of monasteries; by Act of Convocation, July 19, the first Sunday in October was appointed as the Feast of Dedication for all churches.

1538: Destruction of shrines sanctioned by Henry VIII.  The Feasts of the Invention of the Cross and the Exaltation of the Cross abrogated.  By royal proclamation, November 16, the cult of St. Thomas the martyr abrogated.  By the second royal injunction, item 15, the weekly commemoration omitted, the ferial service to be used instead.  It would appear that some churches dedicated to St. Thomas were re-named, such as the church or chapel of St. Thomas, Oundle, renamed to St. Mary (Leland Itinerary (1768 ed) I:5.), but clearly not all, as St. Thomas Salisbury remains so named to this day.

1539: An organ placed on the pulpitum screen at Salisbury Cathedral.

1540: The bequest of Bishop John Waltham (see 1395 above) altered to the daily singing of Sancte Deus before the Rood.  (Sancte Deus is the repetendum of the antiphon Media vita for Compline in the third and fourth weeks of Lent.  To that was added three verses beginning ‘Nunc Christe te petimus’.)

1542: Sarum Use adopted throughout the Southern Province of the English Church by Convocation of Canterbury.

1540-1543: The Rationale of Ceremonial.

1545: Official reformed Primer (King’s Primerpublished; all others banned.

1548: Chantries abolished, relics destroyed.

1549, Whitsunday: First Prayer Book of Edward VI.  (Sarum Use abolished).  Daily morning and evening prayer and monthly communion.

1553: Sarum Use re-established.

1559: Sarum Use abolished, replaced by the Book of Common Prayer.


1604: Sacra Institutio Baptizandi . . . juxta usum insignis Ecclesie Sarisburiensis (Douai)

1610-11: Manuale Sacerdotum . . . juxta usum insignis Ecclesie Sarisburiensis (Douai)

1615: Missae aliquot pro sacerdotibus itinerantibus in Anglia (1615):110  includes a votive mass ‘ex missale secundum usum Sarum’.  (See also Missale parvum pro Sacerdotibus in Anglia, Scotia, et Ibernia itinerantibus.)

1627: John Cosin, A Collection of Private Devotions (incorporating some parts of the hours of prayer)

1643: Organ removed from Salisbury Cathedral.

1648: Dean and Chapter abolished at Salisbury Cathedral.  ca. 1650 bishop’s palace demolished.

1660: Dean and Chapter restored at Salisbury Cathedral.

1661: Thomas Harris Organ restored at Salisbury Cathedral.

1671-72: Choir refurbished at Salisbury Cathedral.

1685-88: ‘I have heard (but cannot verify the statement) that in James II’s reign many priests did restore and use the Sarum rite.’, Adrian Fortescue, the Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy (London: Longmans, Green and Co, 1914):207.

1710: New Renatus Harris organ installed at Salisbury Cathedral.

1758: Upper part of Salisbury bell tower demolished.

1777-79: Salisbury Cathedral closed for repairs.

1781: new high east window installed ‘Moses and the Brazen Serpent’ at Salisbury Cathedral.

1789-92: renovations to Salisbury Cathedral, including removal of the old pulpitum, erection of a new one to support the new organ, levelling of the entire floor, erection of a single altar at the very east end, and demolition of the remainder of the bell tower by James Wyatt.  (Cathedral closed for 3 years, until September, 1792).


1814: New altar erected in the chancel of the cathedral.

1836: John Henry Newman, ‘The Roman Breviary as Embodying the Substance of the Devotional Services of the Catholic Church’ (Tracts for the Times)

1842-43: Portiforii Sarum (Seager).

1846: The Ancient Liturgy of the Church of England; Monumenta Ritualia Ecclesiae Anglicanae. (Maskell).

1846-47: “The Ancient Antiphonary of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin: The Consuetudinary of St. Osmund” The British Magazine and Monthly Register XXX (1846):509-518; 652-659; XXXI (1847):22-33; 161-167; 260-267; 404-411 XXXII.

1849-54: The Church of our Fathers (Rock).

1850: The Psalter Noted (A Manual of Plainsong) Helmore.

1851: Hymnarium Sarisburiense; The Hymnal Noted (Neale).

1852: The Psalter (Chambers); Medieval Hymns and Sequences (Neale).

1860s: Sir George Gilbert Scott renovates the cathedral, including a new ironwork screen

1861: Hymns Ancient and Modern.

1861-83: Missale Sarum (ed. Dickinson).

1862-1878: Extensive restoration of the cathedral by G. G. Scott.

1874: Breviary Offices (Neale).

1877: New Willis organ; Divine Worship in England (Chambers).

1879-86: Breviarium Sarisburiense (Procter and Wordsworth).

1882: Processionale Sarum (Henderson).

1884: The Sarum Missal in English (Pearson).

1894: Graduale Sarisburiense facsimile.

1898-1901: The Use of Sarum (Frere).

ca. 1900-1930: Palmer editions of the Sarum Use in English.

1901: Ceremonies and Processions (Wordsworth).

1901-24: Antiphonale Sarisburiense facsimile.

1906: The English Hymnal.

1911: The Sarum Missal in English (Warren).

1912-13: Old Sarum Cathedral foundations excavated.

1916: The Sarum Missal (Legg).

1960: Ironwork screen and reredos removed.

1971: The Processions of Sarum (Bailey).

1984-99: The Use of Salisbury (Sandon).

2006-: The Sarum Rite (Renwick).

2008: New font installed in Salisbury Cathedral (located several bays to the east of the original font).

2011-13: The Sarum Customary Online (Harper).

2015-18: Sarum Ordinale, BL Harley 1001 (Hackney)

2018-: The Sarum Rite in book-form (Renwick)